The observatory’s headquarters remain at Castel Gandolfo, a town just outside Rome and the location of the summer residence of the popes. 

Chris Graney, an adjunct scholar at the Vatican Observatory, previously told CNA that Catholics can take pride in the fact that their Church embraces science, and promotes and encourages the kind of research that gets published “in the best scientific journals.” 

He also noted that the priests working at the VATT are following in the footsteps of other Catholic scientists who have contributed to our knowledge about the universe, including Father Georges Lemaître, the originator of the Big Bang theory. 

The observatory’s facilities on Mount Graham have been involved in numerous scientific discoveries over its three decades of operation. Astronomers at the VATT continue to discover new heavenly bodies, many of which end up bearing the names of Catholics.

The featured guest and speaker for the VATT’s 2023 weekend of celebration is Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., who flew on four Space Shuttle missions, served as NASA administrator from 2009 to 2017, and has described himself as a “practicing Christian.” 

The event will be hosted by Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, Vatican Observatory director and Vatican Observatory Foundation president.

Celebration events include a reservation-only gala dinner at the Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, Tucson, at which Bolden will speak, on Sept. 29. 

On Sept. 30, Vatican Observatory astronomers Father Christopher Corbally, SJ, and Father Pavel Gabor, SJ, will give a tour of the observatory.